“I guess you can say that I’ve been lucky… all because of you” My Life Story by Gladys Knight
Coming back from London – driving down the western slope leading to our Bright farmhouse – I could see in the distance a strange van slowly crawling out of our gravel driveway. Two minutes later, as I walked towards the backdoor, I see my wife’s purse tossed on the deck, the foreboding house keys hang in the lock; yet, her car is parked as usual.
As I tried to piece this all together, I receive a garbled call from her cell phone saying, “Fred”… the phone goes dead.
Quickly, I make a round of phone calls to friends – no one’s seen her. Then, after getting another cryptic call from her cell phone, that ends abruptly, I figure this is either a cruel joke or something worse. Having had enough, I call 911. A patrol car arrives soon after.
I reviewed the situation with the officer. Why did she leave her purse and her house keys? Was the mysterious van a reason in her disappearance? If everything was normal, why wasn’t there a note? Why were her phone calls suddenly cut short?
With so many questions and no answers, he places an “all-points bulletin” call with the description of the mysterious van. As we talk further, I don’t know what to think. Finally, a call rings through: a friend, on a hunch, drives to nearby Plattsville and locates her. My wife has no idea the police are looking for her, but understands.
My wife calls and, talking to the officer, he learns that she was about to unlock the kitchen door when friends arrive in their new van. She walked over to greet them and accepts a last-minute invitation to a get-together at the local curling club – uncharacteristically forgetting her purse and house keys in the process. She tried to call me to explain what happened, but couldn’t get through. Apparently, the two garbled cell calls were the result of poor reception from inside the arena complex – she was now using the club’s main line. Our friend offers to drive her home.
Outside, getting back into his cruiser, he calls for all units to stand down and waits for my wife to arrive home safely.
Finally, freed from my worst fears – knowing she’s only minutes away – my eyes unexpectedly fill with tears, making it impossible for me to speak, as shock sets in. Showing great empathy, the officer suggests I wait inside… “out of these cold winds.”
My wife arrives and he explains to her my reaction over her disappearance, while adding, “…and having met you for just a short time, I can understand why.”
“Me, I’ll take her laughter and her tears / And make them all my souvenirs / For where she goes I’ve got to be /The meaning of my life is… She” – She by Elvis Costello
Inside, she gives that knowing smile that asks if everything’s alright. It is.